Risky business? Understanding the educational experiences of street-involved youth

Date

2019-08-30

Authors

Vetrone, Laura

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Abstract

The purpose of this thesis research is to better understand the experiences of street-involved youth in educational institutions. Data for this study was collected through a five-wave panel study of street-involved youth in Victoria, British Columbia (N=64). I used Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) as a framework for analyzing the responses to open-ended questions regarding the participants’ experience with education. At the time of first interview, 89% of the participants had not continued past grade ten and their average age was 16.7 years. Salient themes throughout the analysis included not fitting in, re-engaging, and connectedness. Under not fitting in participants detailed strained relationships with peers, staff and teachers, and difficult experiences trying to engage with their education and learning that did not fulfill their natural curiosity for knowledge. The experiences of not fitting in led to a devalued view of education. Participants also spoke extensively about trying to re-engage with their education and encountering many barriers. Their experiences re-engaging highlight difficulty fitting in within the school environment, policies that prevented their full participation and continued difficulties within the school environment. Despite this, through re-engaging with mainstream schools or alternative education programs some participants were able to find spaces where they fit. Points of connection within schools including positive relationships, positive experiences, and meaningful learning opportunities worked to encourage their participation and attendance in their education. The thesis concludes with a summary of the findings, limitations, implications for practice and future research.

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Keywords

street-involved youth, education, child and youth care

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